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Help us formulate new safety culture, Raynsford asks engineers

CONSTRUCTION MINISTER Nick Raynsford has urged engineers to help the Government work out a new health and safety culture for construction.

Raynsford wants as many engineers as possible to complete the safety questionnaire in NCE this week (page 22).

The results will be collated and sent to him and deputy prime minister John Prescott in time for the industry safety summit scheduled for 27 February.

The summit is expected to set safety targets and produce an action plan.

The summit was called after construction deaths hit a six month high of 62 before Christmas, twice the level of two years ago (NCE 16 November 2000).

'I urge engineers to come forward with proposals for the safety summit, ' Raynsford told NCE this week.

'The current level of accidents is completely unacceptable and all ministers in this department are determined to change that.

'This is something to engage the whole industry. It is not about having a go at anyone, but getting the whole industry to recognise its responsibility to do better.'

Raynsford said the subjects he expected to come up at the summit include:

Clients accepting only the highest standards of health and safety from the companies they employ Designers working harder to minimise safety risks during construction of projects Contractors accepting higher levels of responsibility for health and safety.

'There is a danger people will concentrate too much on items like the Construction Design & Management regulations.

'I am more keen to put the focus on new ways of working.

The challenge is to look forward and think about how to do things better, ' he said.

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